Technological innovations continue to reshape industries, occupations, and business organizations, alter demands for labor and skills, and change working conditions across the labor force. While some workers risk displacement or eroding labor standards due to new technologies, others find new opportunities in emerging sectors, especially in the areas of broadband, robotics, advanced manufacturing, and other industries that require a background in information technology. The nature of work may also change as more people work and learn remotely. And new technologies change how government can set and enforce worker protections, especially for the most vulnerable workers.
Against this backdrop, the Biden administration is working to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Agenda, which they say will deliver universal high-speed broadband coverage to all Americans, create good jobs, expand workforce development, and accelerate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor will play a vital role in implementing the legislation and allocating federal funding to help American families and move the country forward.
On November 17, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted the U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh for an in-depth conversation on the future of work and the American workforce. Secretary Walsh and Brookings Senior Fellow Nicol Turner Lee discussed policies to help reorient the labor force to existing market demands and cultivate a 21st century workforce, ensure the economy produces good jobs for all workers, and address issues of equity and inclusion that are critical for historically marginalized populations like people of color, rural Americans, and workers with limited formal education.